I heard it from a colleague who heard it from a colleague that the Kaiwo Maru is coming to town. Sounds like the beginnings of a bad song… or a good song depending on your taste. But, in any case, I checked online and found on the San Francisco Port Department website that the Kaiwo Maru is indeed scheduled to be berthed at Pier 30/32 from May 2 to May 6, 2014.
Photo from Wikipedia
For those of you who know nothing about the Kaiwo Maru, and I include myself in that group up until about a week ago, she is a Japanese sail training ship. Or, more precisely, a four-masted, iron-hull sail training bark. She and her sister ship, the Nippon Maru II, were built in 1980s to replace a pair of sail training ships built in 1930 and bearing the same names. Both are owned by the Japanese government and operated by the National Institute for Sea Training.
In addition, the Japanese Coast Guard ship Kojima, apparently a training vessel, will be at the same pier from May 22 to May 26. I only found out about that one when I looked at the SF Port Department website.
I don’t know what the San Francisco visits are about, and I don’t know if the ships will be open to visitors. I haven’t heard anything, but I will see what I can find out.
For those of you who are interested, Woody Joe makes kits of the Nippon Maru II (Shin Nippon Maru) in 1:160-scale and also in 1:80-scale. I think Aoshima also makes plastic versions, but I’m primarily a wood ship modeler, so don’t quote me on that!
Also, as an aside, Harold Underhill created plans of the original 1930 Kaiwo Maru and Nippon Maru which should still be available from Brown, Son and Ferguson, Ltd.
Several years ago I purchased a wooden model of the Kaiwo Maru ship that had been started but unfinished. The kit was originally distributed by the Fuji Art Model Company Ltd. I believe the scale is around 1/300 and the instructions are in Japanese. Whoever started it did a wonderful job but many of the pieces are missing. I have been trying to locate a source for the original kit to no avail. As a last resort, I may try a plastic kit that is readily available for the missing hard parts but I do not believe the scale is the same. Any ideas would be welcomed.